Friday, 26 May 2017

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer - review

Publisher: Canongate Books

I received this book on Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review. 

Mara's senior year is proving to be a lot less exciting than she'd hoped, until the day - KABAM! - Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. Katelyn is the first, but she won't be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason, while the students continue to pop like balloons. But if bombs or terrorists or a government conspiracy aren't to blame, what is?
With the help of her oldest friend, her new boyfriend, a power ballad and a homemade disco ball, will Mara make it to graduation in one piece? It's going to be one hell of a year, where the only test is how to stay alive and where falling in love might be the worst thing you can do . . . (Publishers' blurb)

I didn't know much about this book when I started reading it (though I had some ideas from the title). I found this a really unique premise and a tense read.

One of my favourite aspects was the writing style. The voice had a strong, contemporary feel and this meshed really well with the horrific idea of spontaneous combustion. This was such an original idea and it created a feeling of tension throughout. 

It was a strange and unique experience to become attached to characters, when there was no real way of working out who was going to combust. A character you really liked could be gone in an instant. The only aspect I was less keen on was that I didn't always feel connected with the narrator Mara and her motivations. 

This was a really dark, boundary pushing book that made me think about the value of life. It was hilarious at some points and heartbreaking at others, but always engaging and tense.

If you liked the sound of this, now try The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Cover reveal - The Salvation Project by Stewart Ross

I'm so happy to reveal the gorgeous cover of The Salvation Project, an intriguing dystopian that I can't wait to get my hands on.

For now, I have some information about the book. I'm also hoping to share a review in the near future!

Humanity’s hope of salvation lies within a single laptop…

A mutation in human DNA means no one lives beyond nineteen. Scientists working to reverse this pandemic died before their Salvation Project was complete, leaving behind the results of their research in a sealed vault – the Soterion.

122 years have passed. The civilisation of the ‘Long Dead’ is almost forgotten, the Soterion has been burned to ashes, and communities of Constants are tormented by brutal tribes of Zeds. Cyrus, Miouda and Sammy flee their burning city with a laptop rescued from the inferno. They believe it contains the key to the Salvation Project. But its batteries are dead, there is no electricity to power it, and murderous Zeds will stop at nothing to get it back…

Information about the Book

Title: The Salvation Project (The Soterion Mission #3)
Author: Stewart Ross
Release Date: 20th June 2017
Publisher: Blean Books
Goodreads Link:

If you like the sound of this, books 1 and 2 are available now!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Beyond the Wall by Tanya Landman - review

Publisher: Walker Books (6th April 2017)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an open and honest review.

From Tanya Landman, author of the 2015 Carnegie Medal winner Buffalo Soldier, comes a heart-stopping tale of love, corruption and the power of choice. Blood on her lips. Blood on her tongue. Blood that is not her own. Cassia does not fear to die, but for her - for a slave who has maimed her master - there are worse things than death. Yet the mighty Roman Empire has its limits. Beyond her master's estate, beyond the river, far to the north stands Hadrian's Wall. And beyond the wall? Freedom. With dogs on her trail and a bounty on her head the journey seems impossible. But then Cassia meets Marcus - slick, slippery, silver-tongued - a true and perfect son of Rome. And her only hope. (Publishers' blurb)

This seems to be the year that I've finally got into historical fiction and Beyond the Wall is a great example.

One of my favourite things about this book was the feeling of empowerment it gave me. I really liked feeling that the actions of a few can ripple through an empire and the world. That somehow felt very relevant to modern circumstances...

The narrative viewpoint was really interesting, featuring an omniscient narrator that was able to explore the main characters' stories, including the villainous slave owner. This gave the opportunity not only to get to know the different characters, but also to unfold plot points from their perspectives. The only challenge for me was that sometimes this made me feel a bit distant from the characters. 

The historical setting was another real strength. I got a really good sense of the time period through the use of interesting details like the clothing, homes and transport. Although the subject matter was disturbing in places, it felt like this was necessary to capture the horrific life of a slave.

This book took me through different emotions: it was moving, powerful and it made me think. It's my first Tanya Landman book and I'm looking forward to reading more.